French V students read L’Automne by Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869). In this beautiful poem, the poet compares the loveliness and sweet sadness of autumn to the twilight of his own life. One particularly moving stanza includes the lines, “I would now like to empty, right down to the dregs, this chalice, a mixture of nectar and bile, At the bottom of the cup where I have been drinking this life, perhaps I will yet find a drop of honey?”
In pairs, the students scouted locations around campus, and even a local mountaintop, to find views which matched the meaning and feeling of the poem. The students narrated their photo/video montages using the Camera app and iMovie on their iPads and provided French subtitles as well. This project helped the students to explore the full meaning of this lovely piece of literature.
Studying poetry in the target language allows students to get an intimate view into the psyche of a culture. The words chosen, the images depicted, and running through it all, the sound of the words themselves bring the students closer to the true essence of the language. This project effectively combined the sound, meaning, and feeling of the poem, giving the students a deeper and more meaningful experience.
Mrs. Reedy, French Teacher